Stage Notes: New play spaces for Workshop West, Rapid Fire and plays in the Citadel space


Content of the article

After 29 years of creating plays in a north Edmonton church, Atelier West Playwrights’ Theater moved.


Content of the article

The theater – dedicated to the flourishing of new Canadian work – occupies the space formerly occupied by Theater Network at 8529 Gateway Blvd. in old Strathcona.

“We are thrilled,” said artistic producer Heather Inglis. “It will be great to be in a neighborhood where there are audiences used to coming to see artistic events. And it will be nice to have a sign and a place where people can find us.

The move is underway, and the Workshop West team spent weeks sprucing up the 130-seat theater, giving the lobby a “fun new look,” Inglis said. The remainder of the 2021/22 season will debut in the new space, called The Gateway, beginning with Springboards New Play Festival from March 21-27.

The city-owned building will also provide interim performance space for the improv troupe Rapid Fire Theater (which takes up residence in the former Telephone Historical Center at Old Strathcona later in 2022).


Content of the article

The Gateway became available recently after Theater Network left to begin its transition to a new location. The Roxy, a new construction on 124th Street, is slated to open this spring.

Workshop West was founded by Gerry Potter in 1978. His first home was inside Potter’s apartment. During the company’s 43-year history, it also lived in the downtown McLeod Building before moving to its current location in 1993 – a disused Lutheran church at 11516 103 St. Inglis said artistic habitat and the City of Edmonton (owner of the building) are in negotiations to ensure that the Kingsway area church remains accessible to the arts, “in accordance with the city’s 10-year arts plan.”

“The upstairs (of the old location) is one of the best rehearsal rooms in town,” Inglis said. “It’s big and bright with natural light.”


Content of the article

The catwalk offers artists a place to develop, rehearse and perform pieces in one place. (Previously, artistic creators had to move productions from the church to the Backstage Theater when it was time to create a new work.) The Gateway will also be available at subsidized rates to other artistic groups that meet the mandate of WorkshopWest.

The new theater will be a perfect place for Workshop West to begin collaborating with southern organizations, Inglis said, noting that new partnerships will be announced shortly.

“I focus on new Canadian premieres and local writers and give them a venue that’s at the forefront of the city,” she said. “I think The Gateway will increase the impact of the work.”

Throughout its history, Workshop West has worked with nationally acclaimed playwrights, including Brad Fraser, Vern Thiessen and Sharon Pollock. Recent pieces by local artists created by Workshop West include Metronome by Darrin Hagen, The Ballad of Peachtree Rose by Nicole Moeller and Matara by Conni Massing.


Content of the article

Watch this space for news of upcoming Workshop West fundraisers to purchase new gear for The Gateway.

Popular improvisational musical comebacks

Rapid Fire Theater performs in The Gateway on Friday, February 25, with the latest iteration of Off Book: The Improvised Musical.

Based on the audience’s suggestions, the talented improv artists will create an entire musical before your eyes, with spontaneous songs and original choreography. Off Book has been around since 2010 and has had nine sold-out tours at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival.

Tickets are $15. To visit for more details.

Powerful Female Voices in Citadel Space

The Citadel Theater dusts off its cabaret space at the Rice Theater (largely closed during the pandemic) to welcome a selection of new shows in The house series.


Content of the article

The first will take place on March 4 and 5. All Because I’m a Woman features the songs of Dolly Parton and other female country music icons, including Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline and Brandi Carlile. The Citadel promises an evening of “raucous celebration” of classic and modern country artists.

The House Series presents three more shows between April and June. Two very funny comics — Carolyn Taylor (Baroness Von Sketch) and Elvira Kurt (Canada’s Drag Race and The Debaters) — can be seen in Live! April 22 and 23.

Hello Violet! opens May 13 and 14 and is a musical exploration of Canadian civil rights heroine Viola Desmond. Hello Violet! features Edmonton’s Krystle Dos Santos singing Davis-era hits, including songs that influenced history like A Change is Gonna Come.


Content of the article

High energy rock band, Stephanie Harpe Experience (SHE). promises to blow the roof off the Rice on June 10 and 11. Discovered at 18 by musician Jeff Healey, Harpe formed SHE in 2005 and has since opened for such great artists as Blue Rodeo, Barenaked Ladies and Colin James.

Tickets for The House Series are available as a bundle priced at $125. Single show tickets start at $30. For more information, visit or call 780-425-1820.

Award-winning flip from a childhood favorite

On the Citadelle’s Shocktor stage, Olivier Peter’s award-winning Pan production Goes Wrong opens this Saturday and will run until March 20.

Written by Henry Lewis, Henry Shields and Jonathan Sayer, the play on a play shows the Cornley Drama Society trying to make the classic tale come true and trying to go wrong in every way possible. Energetic choreography will enliven an all-Canadian cast, including Citadel veterans April Banagan, Jamie Cavanagh, Belinda Cornish and Andrew MacDonald-Smith, under the direction of award-winning British director Adam Meggido.

The comedy was first produced by Mischief Theater in 2016, followed by a record two years on Broadway, and will enjoy its North American premiere here in Edmonton.

Tickets start at $88 and are available at the Citadel box office, online at or by calling 780-425-1820.



Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively yet civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to be moderated before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications. You will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, if there is an update to a comment thread you follow, or if a user follows you comments. Visit our Community Rules for more information and details on how to adjust your E-mail settings.


Comments are closed.